Burning the Sky by Mark Wolverton audiobook

Burning the Sky: Operation Argus and the Untold Story of the Cold War Nuclear Tests in Outer Space

By Mark Wolverton
Read by John Lescault

Blackstone Publishing 9781468314175
8.10 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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“Last September the United States drew a thin curtain of radiation around the earth…The feat was regarded by some of its leading participants as the greatest scientific experiment of all time.” ―Walter Sullivan, the New York Times, March 19, 1959 After the Soviet Union proved to the United States that it possessed an operational intercontinental ballistic missile with the launch of Sputnik in October 1957, the world watched anxiously as the two superpowers engaged in a game of nuclear one-upmanship. Amid this rising tension, Nicholas Christofilos, an eccentric Greek American physicist, brought forth an outlandish, albeit ingenious, idea to defend the United States from a Soviet attack: launching nuclear warheads to detonate in outer space, creating an artificial radiation belt that would fry incoming Soviet ICBMs. Known as Operation Argus, this plan is the most secret and riskiest scientific experiment in history, and classified details of these nuclear tests have been long obscured. In Burning the Sky, Mark Wolverton tells the unknown and controversial story of this scheme to reveal a fascinating narrative that still has powerful resonances today. He chronicles Christofilos’ unconventional idea from its inception to execution, when he persuaded the military to carry out the dangerous test―using the entire Earth’s atmosphere as a laboratory. Combining his investigation of recently declassified military documents with more than a decade of experience in researching and writing about the science of the Cold War, Wolverton examines the scientific, political, and environmental implications of Argus, as well as that of the atmospheric tests that followed. He also discusses the roles played by physicist James Van Allen and President Eisenhower in the scheme, and how the whistle-blowing journalists at The New York Times blew the lid off what was supposed to be America’s ultimate nuclear secret. Burning the Sky is an engrossing book that will intrigue any lover of scientific or military history and will remind readers why Project Argus remains frighteningly relevant nearly sixty years later.

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Summary

Summary

“Last September the United States drew a thin curtain of radiation around the earth…The feat was regarded by some of its leading participants as the greatest scientific experiment of all time.” ―Walter Sullivan, the New York Times, March 19, 1959

After the Soviet Union proved to the United States that it possessed an operational intercontinental ballistic missile with the launch of Sputnik in October 1957, the world watched anxiously as the two superpowers engaged in a game of nuclear one-upmanship. Amid this rising tension, Nicholas Christofilos, an eccentric Greek American physicist, brought forth an outlandish, albeit ingenious, idea to defend the United States from a Soviet attack: launching nuclear warheads to detonate in outer space, creating an artificial radiation belt that would fry incoming Soviet ICBMs. Known as Operation Argus, this plan is the most secret and riskiest scientific experiment in history, and classified details of these nuclear tests have been long obscured.

In Burning the Sky, Mark Wolverton tells the unknown and controversial story of this scheme to reveal a fascinating narrative that still has powerful resonances today. He chronicles Christofilos’ unconventional idea from its inception to execution, when he persuaded the military to carry out the dangerous test―using the entire Earth’s atmosphere as a laboratory. Combining his investigation of recently declassified military documents with more than a decade of experience in researching and writing about the science of the Cold War, Wolverton examines the scientific, political, and environmental implications of Argus, as well as that of the atmospheric tests that followed. He also discusses the roles played by physicist James Van Allen and President Eisenhower in the scheme, and how the whistle-blowing journalists at The New York Times blew the lid off what was supposed to be America’s ultimate nuclear secret.

Burning the Sky is an engrossing book that will intrigue any lover of scientific or military history and will remind readers why Project Argus remains frighteningly relevant nearly sixty years later.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Burning the Sky is scary as hell. An unflinching look at one of the darkest and most dangerous secrets of our past…Read this book right now!” Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author
“Wolverton’s gripping Burning the Sky [is] the first book-length treatment of a remarkable series of nuclear tests in outer space…Informative and balanced in its attention to diplomacy, science, and biography.” Nature
“A well-researched and fast-paced history…Wolverton keeps the book from bogging down by balancing science with the personalities involved, the Cold War context, and the drama of risky experiments. This is an appealing and informative history.” Publishers Weekly
“Narrator John Lescault tells the true story in a straightforward manner, using his deep, authoritative voice to let the text speak for itself. Lescault varies his pitch to emphasize key events.” AudioFile
“Wolverton’s nail-biting chronicle of some of the most potentially dangerous atmospheric tests ever carried out is a must for enthusiasts of military and scientific history.” Paul Halpern, physicist and author of The Quantum Labyrinth
“Gripping…A timely reminder of the dangers of unchecked adventurism as we enter an age of cyber and social warfare.” R. Scott Kemp, professor of nuclear science and engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“In Burning the Sky, Mark Wolverton takes us back to the giddy—and terrifying—early days of the space age… Fascinating.” David Kaiser, Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Mark Wolverton

Author Bio: Mark Wolverton

Mark Wolverton is a science writer who has written widely on the history of the Cold War for a variety of magazines, including American Heritage of Invention & Technology, Smithsonian Air & Space, and American History. He is the author of A Life in Twilight: The Final Years of J. Robert Oppenheimer and The Depths of Space: The Story of the Pioneer Planetary Probes.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 8.10
Audience: Adult
Language: English